New York Mets Offseason Free Agent Candidate: A.J. Pollock
By Tim Boyle
Outfielder A.J. Pollock could help fill the New York Mets need in center field next year. Should they target him in free agency?
The New York Mets have a lack of depth in the outfield. You might not know this if you only watched the team in the first few weeks of 2018. Then again, if you stopped watching that early, you would think they’re playing meaningful baseball in August.
This winter, one position the Mets may want to consider upgrading is in center field. They don’t have a true everyday center fielder, which could make A.J. Pollock a target over the winter.
The Mets have options in center field. Surely, if they decide to go in another direction, we could see them open the year with Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, or Brandon Nimmo up the middle. However, the big ticket item to put out there to open 2019 is a guy named Pollock.
Pollock would be a much bigger free agent if health was on his side. The 30-year-old outfielder is now in his seventh season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a career often derailed by the injury bug. In those seven seasons, Pollock has reached 125 games only twice. He won’t accomplish this in 2018 either.
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When healthy, though, Pollock is an option to bat at the top of anyone’s lineup. He has good speed, the ability to get on base regularly, and some supplemental pop anyone would desire. In each of his big league seasons, Pollock has also put up positive defensive metrics. The fit seems all too perfect.
Of course, just because he looks like the right match, doesn’t mean we’ll see him in a Mets uniform anytime soon. Despite the injury history, Pollock’s asking price is unlikely to decline.
Pollock is different from many of the free agents who settled on one-year deals over the previous offseason. He’s not at a limited position. As a center fielder, he gives anyone the option to move him around at any of the outfield positions. He would upgrade many defenses and supply an answer in the leadoff or number two spot of many lineups.
The big problem I envision with the Mets inking Pollock is that he may end up as the only addition the franchise makes. In that case, we have to ask, is he enough?
The Mets need much more than one skilled outfielder to make this a better team. Pollock is a sure-thing when he’s not on the disabled list. Unfortunately, the same is true of Yoenis Cespedes and we know how unsure his health is.
Pollock comes with a lot of risks. More important than that, he handcuffs the Mets from doing the more important move: adding depth. My personal preference for this team is to go after three quality players over one All-Star. Pollock, now on the other side of thirty, fits the latter. He’s one man and this team needs a lot more than a single bat to turn their fortunes around.
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Nevertheless, look for the Mets to show interest in Pollock and other center fielders in the winter. If they do end up with him, I’ll be somewhere in the middle of the complaint line.